By Petra Colindres
You just found out you are pregnant. You are excited, you’re glowing, and you may be outrageously hungry -- or a little bit nauseous. Whatever the case, being pregnant can be an amazing time, but also an overwhelming and uncertain experience; after all, you are bringing a new life into this world! There is so much to consider during this time. You want your baby to be healthy and have the best start in life, but how do you meet this goal? One way to give your child the best start is to provide adequate nourishment to your child while in the womb. But what foods are the best? What foods can you actually keep down? Is coconut oil good or are avocados better? If you eat a little bit of fast food, will that be horrible?
If you have many questions about food during pregnancy, don't worry -- there are professionals who answer these type of questions every day for a living! Registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) and nutritionists are experts in nutrition needs. If you do not know where to start or have questions, talking with an expert in food and nutrition can help put your mind at ease and help make sure your baby gets the best start. An RDN is a healthcare professional who can give you a better understanding of what your body and baby need during pregnancy, and how to get it. They can also work with you to develop a food plan personalized to your individual needs. A nutritionist is someone who is specially trained in nutrition and usually has received an undergraduate or graduate degree in nutrition. They can answer questions about weight gain, nutritional needs for you and the baby, supplements, physical activity, fluid intake and much more.
How to Find an RDN
There are a few ways to find an RDN. Your local OBGYN or midwifery care practice may have recommendations for you on where to seek an RDN locally. Consulting with an RDN may even be required for your pregnancy, especially if you are a first-time parent and/or have a high-risk pregnancy. You can also visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website www.eatright.org and click on the “Find an Expert” icon at the top right corner of the page. After entering your zip code, a list of local RNDs will appear. You can refine the search to include RDNs who specialize in maternal nutrition. This list will give you details about each RDN and provide you with links to their website.
How to Find a Nutritionist
Nutritionists also are experts in the field of nutrition and can help in many ways during and after your pregnancy. You can find a nutritionist also through referrals, or by searching the web for a nutritionist near you. There is no certifying body of a nutritionist, so be sure to qualify the education and professional experience of the nutritionist you find.
The best way to give your baby a great start is by having a balanced, healthful diet. If you have any questions or concerns about nutrition during pregnancy, contact an expert!